Brazilian lawyer arrested in Rio for planning bribes with senator

viernes 27 de noviembre de 2015 11:33 GYT

By Anthony Boadle

BRASILIA Nov 27 (Reuters) - Police on Friday arrested a Brazilian lawyer who authorities say was caught on tape arranging bribes with a ruling party senator to stop his client from turning state's witness in a massive corruption probe.

The lawyer, Edson Ribeiro, was in the United States when Brazilian police jailed Senator Delcidio do Amaral and the chief executive officer of Brazil's biggest independent investment bank on suspicion of obstructing the corruption investigation into state-run oil firm Petrobras. Ribeiro was arrested when he arrived in Rio de Janeiro from Miami.

The unprecedented arrests of Amaral, President Dilma Rousseff's point man in the Senate, and billionaire banker Andre Esteves, CEO of BTG Pactual SA, sent shockwaves through Brazil and paralyzed Congress on Wednesday.

Ribeiro's name appeared on the Interpol watch list and U.S. authorities located him, but police said he bought his own ticket back to Rio de Janeiro, where he had defended Nestor Cervero, a former Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) executive.

Ribeiro has told Reuters he opposed plea bargains that have enabled investigators to crack a complex price-fixing and political kickback scheme at the oil company. Cervero eventually hired other lawyers to negotiate a deal.

Prosecutors accuse Esteves of illegally obtaining a copy of the draft deal, expected to implicate him and Amaral in the bribe scheme that has already implicated netted dozens of executives and some 50 lawmakers.

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